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The Ukrainian people
Cultural Profile of their country of origin- Ukraine
Artistic Expressions: Literature
NOTE- With this installment of our culture series, we talk about the culture of the country of Ukraine- a place that right now is fighting for their right to freedom and independence. Since that part is being covered by regular media, we will focus on portraying their culture, their people, and other notable details- and not delve into the tragedy they are currently living.
Ukrainian literature did not develop with a smooth path. The language for writing (generally referred as Standard Ukrainian), introduced with Christianity and used for religious purposes, changed slower than the spoken word. The differences between the spoken and the written languages became worse over the years, owing to political events such as numerous invasions, the subjugation of Ukraine by other states, and the prohibition against the Ukrainian language in print. Literature in the vernacular did not develop smoothly, either. Ukraine was split between two empires, and that gave rise to regional vernacular differences and a different rate of literary growth.
These differences between the written and the spoken language led to the adoption in the 19th century of a new literary language based on the spoken version. This was beneficial for the growth of Ukrainian national awareness, but it had a harmful effect on the development of their literature. For example, the continuity between pre- and post-19th-century literature seemed lost.
However, when presenting Ukrainian literature as a whole, the literary process of the last one thousand years can be viewed as a continuous line with several broad periods: the Kyivan, the Cossack, the vernacular, the renaissance of the 1920s, the pre-independence, and the contemporary. This way of describing it only serves as a historical time frame, as it doesn't divide the works according to esthetic or philosophical currents, more than one of which may be present in the literature of a given time period.
For books that are interesting to read, visit these websites- a list of literary classics, a compilation of masterworks in English and this compilation of books you should read if you love Ukraine, according to the author of the article.